I'm really tired of digital...

metropolis_4

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
8,046
<long_winded_rant>

I'm setting up a rig for a 4 month run of shows and feeling really frustrated with digital gear while doing it.

Instrumentation is:
- Electric guitar
- Steel String Acoustic
- Nylon String Acoustic
- Banjo
- Mandolin
- Ukulele
- Archtop

In the old days, I'd have a small combo and a few pedals in front for electric. Then a mic on the amp, and a second mic for all the acoustic instruments. Done.

Nothing to program, no expectations of death defying instrument/tone changes, no crazy logistics to configure. And I'd get to spend my time actually playing the music and learning it.


Today with digital rigs I have to spend all my time planning out the logistics and coordination of how to run all of these instruments. I need to make sure they all have a way of sending a signal to a 1/4" output, I need to program a switching system to handle fast changes between them. And I have to program out somewhere around 100 changes throughout the show. This particular show there are too many sounds and the instrument changes are too fast to have just a single bank of electric guitar presets and a bank of acoustic instrument presets. Instead, I'm gonna have to program presets for each song and instrument change within a song. And then cross my fingers and pray they all balance as needed once I get into rehearsals.

And once I get this whole rig configured I'll get to spend a chunk of practice time practicing the changes and learning the switching. It feels more like learning choreography than learning music.

And if there's any time left over at the end, maybe I'll get to actually start learning the music.

All because this nice convenient digital gear allows all of these things, and because we are now capable of doing it MDs now expect it to be done. It's expected that as a guitarist I can handle jumping instantaneously from a roaring Marshall drive to a nylon string acoustic to a Banjo and back to a jangly Vox electric sound within a single beat of music.

I feel like we've become trapped by the technology that was supposed to make life easier and more convenient.

I know there are a lot of benefits. The rig is much quieter, there aren't live mics picking up noise, the sound of the acoustic instruments going direct is much cleaner and more consistent, etc...

But I miss when I just got to be a musician and focus on playing music. :confused:

</long_winded_rant>
 

Bob Zod

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,573
just because its there doesnt mean you have to use it.

right tool for the right job type of thing.
Yeah I recently came to this realization with my Helix. I have really simplified things lately and loving it. My main catchall patch had 4 OD's, 3delays, 2 compressors, 2 amps, and 3 modulations along with a couple gain blocks.
 
Last edited:

timbuck2

Member
Messages
3,902
<long_winded_rant>

I'm setting up a rig for a 4 month run of shows and feeling really frustrated with digital gear while doing it.

Instrumentation is:
- Electric guitar
- Steel String Acoustic
- Nylon String Acoustic
- Banjo
- Mandolin
- Ukulele
- Archtop

In the old days, I'd have a small combo and a few pedals in front for electric. Then a mic on the amp, and a second mic for all the acoustic instruments. Done.

Nothing to program, no expectations of death defying instrument/tone changes, no crazy logistics to configure. And I'd get to spend my time actually playing the music and learning it.


Today with digital rigs I have to spend all my time planning out the logistics and coordination of how to run all of these instruments. I need to make sure they all have a way of sending a signal to a 1/4" output, I need to program a switching system to handle fast changes between them. And I have to program out somewhere around 100 changes throughout the show. This particular show there are too many sounds and the instrument changes are too fast to have just a single bank of electric guitar presets and a bank of acoustic instrument presets. Instead, I'm gonna have to program presets for each song and instrument change within a song. And then cross my fingers and pray they all balance as needed once I get into rehearsals.

And once I get this whole rig configured I'll get to spend a chunk of practice time practicing the changes and learning the switching. It feels more like learning choreography than learning music.

And if there's any time left over at the end, maybe I'll get to actually start learning the music.

All because this nice convenient digital gear allows all of these things, and because we are now capable of doing it MDs now expect it to be done. It's expected that as a guitarist I can handle jumping instantaneously from a roaring Marshall drive to a nylon string acoustic to a Banjo and back to a jangly Vox electric sound within a single beat of music.

I feel like we've become trapped by the technology that was supposed to make life easier and more convenient.

I know there are a lot of benefits. The rig is much quieter, there aren't live mics picking up noise, the sound of the acoustic instruments going direct is much cleaner and more consistent, etc...

But I miss when I just got to be a musician and focus on playing music. :confused:

</long_winded_rant>
line 6 catalyst???? tone,asters? depending on your needs there are simple amps out there with effects in them.
 

C-4

Member
Messages
15,260
In order to change guitars to acoustic to banjo, etc., why not put the other instruments you are not playing as your main instrument (electric) on those stands where you just walk up to it, play the acoustic, etc. and you are still strapped up to your electric.
 

metropolis_4

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
8,046
just because its there doesnt mean you have to use it.

right tool for the right job type of thing.

What I'm saying is that it has become expected. And in some places required where I work. So I have no choice but to use it.

I have a buddy who's a trumpet player and I'm always jealous because he brings his trumpet to a venue, and when he gets there they have a mic set up for him. Because they expect him to just bring his trumpet and play it. Nothing else.

For me, I arrive at a venue with my 7-8 instruments and they have a single XLR set up for me. "You can run that all to us in one signal right?"


In order to change guitars to acoustic to banjo, etc., why not put the other instruments you are not playing as your main instrument (electric) on those stands where you just walk up to it, play the acoustic, etc. and you are still strapped up to your electric.

The bigger problem is programming the rig to accommodate all those changes. And there usually isn't enough room for me to set up 5 guitars on stands around me
 

JiveTurkey

Trumpets and Tants
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
25,561
What I'm saying is that it has become expected. And in some places required where I work. So I have no choice but to use it.

I have a buddy who's a trumpet player and I'm always jealous because he brings his trumpet to a venue, and when he gets there they have a mic set up for him. Because they expect him to just bring his trumpet and play it. Nothing else.

For me, I arrive at a venue with my 7-8 instruments and they have a single XLR set up for me. "You can run that all to us in one signal right?"




The bigger problem is programming the rig to accommodate all those changes. And there usually isn't enough room for me to set up 5 guitars on stands around me
1. I would hope the pay is better considering the ridiculousness of the cartage involved.
2. I would be making a GK pickup work it's a$$ off :waiting :roll
 

metropolis_4

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
8,046
1. I would hope the pay is better considering the ridiculousness of the cartage involved.
2. I would be making a GK pickup work it's a$$ off :waiting :roll

I mean, the good thing is that once it's all programmed and set up then all I have to do is play. It stays set up until the end of the run. But all of this up front work is a major PITA.

Pay isn't great, but not terrible either. I'd make a lot more money doing weddings and corporate events, but I really love theater so I keep taking these gigs instead.

I did the GK thing for a while. Probably should keep one around for some work. I still keep thinking about that idea of rack mounting an SY-1000 and using it for instrument modeling in front of an AxeFX III
 

Will Chen

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
7,733
It's expected that as a guitarist I can handle jumping instantaneously from a roaring Marshall drive to a nylon string acoustic to a Banjo and back to a jangly Vox electric sound within a single beat of music.

I'd really be interested in hearing some of these arrangements. 4 different sounds within a single beat or do you mean between any of the sounds? Honestly...this sounds like a situation where a Variax w/ Helix would probably be a worthwhile investment as you can coordinate changes and really only need 1 instrument (outside Mandolin, and depending on the part, Banjo may be difficult if not impossible). EDIT: I guess an SY-1000/GK could cover most those bases as well.
 
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080

Member
Messages
29
I understand the frustration of learning how to program an fx unit if you've never done that before but an all in one digital board should be simplifying your set up not making it more complex. The helix floor for example, you can plug everything you have in to the one source, send one signal out to the front and the other to an in-ear or amp and change patches per instrument being used. That's alot easier than dealing with multiple pedal boards for the mic stuff and electric guitar etc..
 




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